Toyota is set to spend an additional $8 billion on its North Carolina battery factory, more than doubling its initial investment and breaking a record for North America.
Set to begin building electric vehicles (EVs) in 2025, Toyota now plans to increase its investment at the Liberty, North Carolina plant to add as many as ten battery production lines, up from previous plans to install just two (via Automotive News). With an additional four lines being built to feed batteries to hybrid vehicles, the facility is expected to feature a total of 14 battery production lines.
The amount also brings the automaker’s investment in the so-called Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina up to $13.9 billion, marking the largest investment into a single project in North America, according to a company spokesperson. Sean Suggs, president of Toyota North Carolina, says the latest investment and expansion will bring the facility’s size to roughly 7 million square feet, covering around 1,000 of the lot’s 1,800 acres.
Production at the North Carolina battery factory is expected to increase to peak levels gradually between 2025 and 2030.
“At full capacity and at a good run rate, we will be at 30 GWh of production capacity, and that will give us the ability to support many, many different vehicle [lines] in North America,” said Suggs.
Toyota will use the batteries built at its North Carolina plant to supply the automaker’s Georgetown, Kentucky assembly plant, which is set to build an electric crossover starting in 2025. The automaker is also likely to use the battery cells for a Subaru crossover EV built at the Kentucky plant.
This is also the second time Toyota has announced plans to expand the battery factory ahead of opening. Last August, Toyota added another $2.5 billion into an initial investment of $1.2 billion, following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act that changed the rules around EV tax credits.
According to Suggs, The factory has hired roughly 400 people already, though it’s expected to eventually employ as many as 5,000 workers. The plant is also expected to run 24/7, with workers expected to be scheduled on 12-, 10- and eight-hour shifts instead of using a conventional three-shift schedule.
“It gives our team members a lot of good flexibility,” Suggs said, adding that workers will be able to “plan a lot better” than under a traditional scheduling structure.
The news comes after Toyota announced an increase to its battery-electric vehicle (BEV) production target last month, with the automaker looking to build as many as 600,000 units in 2025.
“We’re also acutely aware that [EVs are] the missing piece in this strategy,” said Simon Humphries, Toyota’s chief branding officer, ahead of Japan Mobility.